Presentation Open Access

The pathways of humans and animals in the Early Neolithic Balkans: an archaeozoological perspective

Živaljević, Ivana; Dimitrijević, Vesna; Stefanović, Sofija


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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Over the last couple of decades, extensive archaeozoological and aDNA studies have&amp;nbsp;securely placed the origin of animal domestication in the Middle East. From this area,&amp;nbsp;humans and domesticated animals (sheep, goat, cattle and pig) gradually spread to the&amp;nbsp;Balkans, and ultimately to the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, the faunal record from the&amp;nbsp;Early Neolithic (c. 6500‒5500 cal BC) sites in the Balkans indicates that this process had&amp;nbsp;been far from uniform. There seem to have been pronounced regional differences in&amp;nbsp;herding strategies, mainly between the southern parts of the Balkan peninsula, and its&amp;nbsp;central and northern parts, bordering with the Great Pannonian plain. In the former,&amp;nbsp;animal husbandry was mainly oriented towards caprovines, whereas in the latter, in&amp;nbsp;addition to sheep and goat, cattle husbandry played a more significant role. In this&amp;nbsp;paper, we present new results of the analysis of faunal assemblages from Early Neolithic&amp;nbsp;sites in Serbia and North Macedonia, the latter representing an area which had&lt;br&gt;
previously been insufficiently studied from an archaeozoological perspective. By&amp;nbsp;comparing taxonomic compositions and mortality profiles of domestic animals in the two&amp;nbsp;studied regions, we aim to provide additional insights into different animal husbandry&lt;br&gt;
practices, and look into possible reasons for this divergence &amp;ndash; adaptations to new&amp;nbsp;environments, cultural attitudes to various animals, and/or adherence to particular&amp;nbsp;traditions.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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